The 3rd annual Restaurant Week is heating things up in Oakland kitchens. I went to Hopscotch yesterday, a new-to-me eatery in Uptown Oakland, and my burger topped with a sliver of grilled beef tongue was a sensational start to the week. The three course lunch included a choice of mushroom miso soup or grilled kabocha squash and greens salad, the burger or a spiced fried chicken served with a slaw dappled with tung ho and sesame oil, and for dessert a lemon bar or chocolate mousse with a floral-tasting meringue and black sesame tuille. The inventive takes on classic food elevated lunch hour to a memorable celebration, where I went away feeling rather princess-like.
All across the city there are restaurants offering reasonable lunch and dinner prix fixe menus, an ideal way to explore restaurants you haven’t yet tried, or marinate in the chef’s inspiration at… Read more»
There’s been a lot of muck to sort through, no? Our family had a lot on our plate this year, so to speak. Death, sickness, sudden changes – 2012 has seen it all. While I’ll never need an excuse for a good adventure, the fact is that travel truly does have healing power. The curative effect of exploring, especially in rural areas, cannot be denied. If you’re in need of a healing moment, resist the urge to hide your head under your blanket and take a moment to let your surroundings cajole you back into optimism.
Seeking a silent moment, I went to Glen Ellen, in the valley between Napa and Sonoma. I skipped the fancy tasting rooms and restaurants that would only have fueled feelings of disconnection that difficult change can sometimes incite. After a weekend of writing from my lodge room, and visiting these special places, I felt… Read more»
Happy New Year! Time for some black-eyed peas! They’ve been eaten since Babylonian times as a good luck food and as I dug around for recipes, it was hard to find a culture that didn’t have a customary black-eyed pea dish.
They are eaten on Rosh Hoshana, the Jewish New Year, and one tale is that the earliest Jewish settlers to America brought their tradition to 1730s Georgia where it spread to the South for our January 1st New Year, strengthened by the proliferation of the crop brought to America by African slaves.
I cooked mine yesterday with some verdant tree collards from the garden. They are a tasty, nourishing, and lucky way to ring in 2013, here are a few ideas for how to prepare them:
♥ Sauté onions and leeks and a diced apple in a little grapeseed oil until wilted. Add the dry beans and let sit unstirred on low… Read more»
Don your raincoats and head into Oakland for lots of locally-made gifts for your loved ones! There are so many great spots, here are a few I admire:
Urban Indigo has a colorful array of housewares, jewelry, and other lovely local finds, most between $10 and $30. Plus, gift wrap is free! 3339 Lakeshore Avenue, Grandlake, 510.419.0451
Laurel Book Store is home to an inspired collection of books; it is the kind of place where you kind the perfect book you didn’t know you were looking for. 4100 MacArthur Boulevard, Laurel, 510.531.2073
Crimson Horticultural Rarities, in Temescal, is a haven for design-savvy nature lovers. Also, they stock a ravishing potpourri that’s been made since Napoleon’s time. 470A 49th Street, Temescal, 510.992.3359
A few nights ago at Rick Prelinger’s screening of the Lost Landscapes of San Francisco - quickly becoming a favorite annual tradition – I caught some footage of ladies at tea at the Top of the Mark back in the 40s. Their hats were pinned just so, their pinky fingers alight with each lifting of the cup… It was a time and place I momentarily longed to enter as the film flickered along.
I’m happy to say that minus the hats, the experience is still awaiting. The Top of the Mark is open for tea and cocktails most nights of the year, and in the wintery months they serve special Holiday Tea and Magical Tea menus for those who want the complete and iconic experience. Three-tiered trays of dainty sandwiches, of course sans crust, arrive at your table with special sweets like mini pumpkin cheesecakes and fluffy house-made scones to… Read more»